No leniency after expiry of amnesty scheme: PM

Updated June 05, 2019

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In this picture taken on May 24, 2018,  Imran Khan speaks during an interview at his home in Islamabad.
Photo: AFP/File
In this picture taken on May 24, 2018, Imran Khan speaks during an interview at his home in Islamabad. Photo: AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to go after the wealthy people having lavish lifestyle if they do not get their assets registered under the recently announced tax amnesty scheme.

The decision was taken at a meeting on the upcoming budget presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan at his Banigala residence.

The meeting was also attended by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Shabbar Zaidi, Humayun Akhtar and others.

A participant of the meeting, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that the PM expressed his resolve that the current amnesty scheme would be the last one after which no leniency would be shown to those hiding their assets inside and outside the country.

The source quoted the premier as saying that no one would be spared after the expiry of the scheme.

Finance ministry asked to hold talks with exporters to decide continuation of zero-tax facility

The meeting agreed that there were some indicators of wealth that would be strictly monitored as the FBR would go after those who had a ‘hi-fi lifestyle’, palatial houses in posh areas, luxurious vehicles and frequently made foreign tours.

The FBR chairman gave a detailed briefing on the tax regime and budget proposals regarding revenue generation. Similarly, the finance secretary gave a presentation on budget expenditures.

The prime minister said that instead of putting the low-income group under the burden of more taxes, the privileged class should be brought under the tax net. He also directed the relevant authorities to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders, including businessmen and industrialists, in a bid to take their proposals into consideration for budget preparation.

The issue of zero-rating tax regime for exporters was also discussed in detail and the finance ministry was directed to hold more meetings with exporters.

The government is said to be uncertain whether it would continue the facility of zero-rated general sales tax (GST) on exports or not.

In the previous meeting held at the same venue, no decision had been made regarding the zero-rated GST. However, it was emphasised how local sale of the industries and companies should be taxed because it was quite difficult to ascertain actual quantum of export and local sales of firms.

The business community had been availing the zero-tax facility since 2005, with a break from 2009 to 2015.

Businessmen have already been asked that they have to pay tax on their entire production even those which are exported and the government will return them the tax if they provide details of their exports in black and white so that only their local sales can be taxed.

The prime minister said the government would make its policies regarding businesses in consultation with the business community. He said the government wanted that policies regarding trade and industries be made in consultation with businessmen and industrialists so that the problems confronting them could be addressed.

Mr Khan said the business community ought to play the role of a front line team to revive the crippling economy, “while the government will provide facilities to the business community”.

He said it was not only the duty of the government to levy taxes on business community but also to provide its benefits to the taxpayers.

He was of the opinion that the IT sector could play an important role in good governance and welfare of the people.'

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019